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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 1, No. 148, Part II, 29 October 1997
A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I covers Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's Web site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * STOCK MARKET SLUMP HITS REGION * KUCHMA, MARCHUK TO CONTEND 1999 ELECTIONS * INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO DECIDE FOR BALKING BOSNIAN LEADERS? End Note : WHEN STATES LOSE CONTROL xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE STOCK MARKET SLUMP HITS REGION. The Tallinn stock market fell 12.46 percent on 28 October, making for a 22 percent decline in the past week. Analysts are divided over whether the current slump on the Estonian market is linked to international trends. In Riga, the index fell some 1.85 percent, while the drop in Vilnius was similar to that in Tallinn. In Warsaw, the share index fell by 9.8 percent. The zloty dropped against the dollar to 3.55, down from 3.44 the previous day. The Prague market was closed for a holiday, but the crown fell against the dollar from 33.25 to 33.63. The Budapest Stock Exchange dropped by 16 percent, which was the biggest single-day loss in its history. The Bucharest index was down 12 percent, while the Ljubljana market dropped 5 percent. KUCHMA, MARCHUK TO CONTEND 1999 ELECTIONS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has announced on state television that he will run for a second term in the 1999 presidential elections, provided the country's economic situation does not deteriorate, Interfax reported on 27 October. Former Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk, who was dismissed by Kuchma in 1996 and is a member of the moderate centrist United Social Democratic Party, has also announced his candidacy. The next day, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported that Crimean Tatar activists Mustafa Djemilev and Nadir Bekirov are included on the Popular Rukh party's list of candidates to contend the March 1998 parliamentary elections. Also on 28 October, parliamentary speaker Aleksandr Moroz told ITAR-TASS that Ukraine is not yet ready to abolish the death penalty. UKRAINIAN ECONOMY CONTRACTS. During the first nine months of 1997, GDP fell by 5 percent compared with the same period in 1996, Interfax reported. But the rate of decline of industrial production has slowed from 6 percent in the first quarter to 2.4 percent for the first nine months. Agricultural output fell by 6.3 percent compared with the first three-quarters of 1996. Consumer prices rose by 6.7 percent, while the comparable figure for last year was 34.8 percent. Foreign trade from January to August 1997 was down 4.5 percent from 1996, at $23.98 billion. Trade with CIS and the Baltic States fell from 63.2 percent of total foreign trade to 53.2 percent. BALTS TO PONDER RUSSIAN SECURITY OFFER. Presidents Lennart Meri (Estonia) and Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia) are to look carefully at Russia's offer of security guarantees, which they received in writing on 27 October, ETA and BNS reported. Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas has proposed that the three Baltic heads of states meet to discuss the offer. He has also said the presidential Foreign Policy Coordination Council will consider the initiative in the next few days. Meanwhile, Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Algirdas Saudargas told the Polish newspaper "Zycie" that Vilnius will reject the offer. "It is sufficiently clear if we say that we need no such guarantees," he commented. Sergei Prikhodko, Yeltsin's foreign policy adviser, has said Russia expects an "adequate answer" to the offer. BRAZAUSKAS TESTIFIES IN 1991 PUTSCH TRIAL. Lithuanian President Brazauskas on 27 October gave testimony in a closed courtroom at the trial of six pro-Soviet activists charged with organizing the January 1991 putsch in Vilnius, dpa reported, citing ELTA. Brazauskas was deputy premier and head of the reformed communist Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party at the time of the putsch. He was summoned to the court at the request of the defendants, who include Mykolas Burokevicius, the former head of the Moscow-loyal Lithuanian Communist Party. Brazauskas reportedly said he had little information to offer the court. He also said he did not know who had organized the civilian blockade outside the television tower, where 14 unarmed civilians were shot dead by Soviet troops. LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO PERMIT DEPUTY'S ARREST. The parliament on 28 October voted to permit the arrest of Audrius Butkevicius, an independent deputy and former defense minister, who has been charged with corruption. Before the vote, Prosecutor- General Kazys Pednycia produced evidence showing that Butkevicius was impeding an investigation into his case, trying to influence witnesses, and destroying evidence, dpa reported. In August, police caught Butkevicius in the act of accepting $15,000 in cash from a Lithuanian businessman. Butkevicius had allegedly promised to use his influence to press for the closure of a fraud case involving the businessman's company. BUZEK REVEALS SOME CANDIDATES FOR NEW CABINET. Polish Prime Minister-designate Jerzy Buzek on 28 October announced he has nominated former steel mill chief Emil Wasacz of Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) to head the key Treasury ministry overseeing privatization. Ryszard Czarnecki, leader of the Catholic group within the AWS, will head the European Integration Committee, while Jacek Janiszewski (AWS) will return to the Agriculture Ministry, where he was once acting head. Freedom Union (UW) leader Leszek Balcerowicz will be a deputy premier and finance minister. Bronislaw Geremek, head of the UW's parliamentary caucus, is slated to head the Foreign Ministry and former Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka (UW) the Justice Ministry. Janusz Onyszkiewicz (UW), a former defense minister, is named to take over that position again. The complete cabinet lineup is expected to be announced on 29 October. CZECH PREMIER ON COALITION CRISIS. Vaclav Klaus told reporters on 28 October, the 79th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak state, that the Czech Republic is jeopardizing its chances to join NATO and the EU by displaying "political instability". He expressed the hope that the appointment of new interior and foreign ministers will lead to the rapid restoration of stability, CTK reported. At a ceremony marking the anniversary, President Vaclav Havel said the civic solidarity that followed the summer floods shows the "large hidden ethical potential" that "slumbers" in Czech society. He commented that the more solidarity is shown at the grass-roots level, the more it will eventually emerge at the national level as well. SLOVAK PRESIDENT HOPES FOR RUSSIAN ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. Michal Kovac, in an interview with ITAR-TASS on 28 October, said Slovakia is interested in Russia's implementing market reforms and entering a period of prosperity "as soon as possible." He said relations between the two countries have reached a "high level of development" and have "a wonderful perspective" based on the "further development of democracy and expansion of integration processes in Europe." Kovac also said that Bratislava follows Russian developments carefully and "rejoices at [its] successes and grieves at setbacks." SLOVAK RULING PARTY ASKS COURT TO RULE ON KOVAC'S TENURE. The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has called on the Constitutional Court to rule when President Kovac's term in office expires, Reuters reported on 28 October. A spokeswoman for the court said the appeal was submitted by a group of HZDS deputies. She noted there is no legal deadline by which the court has to reach a decision. Kovacs argues his term ends on 2 March 1988, the fifth anniversary of his inauguration, while Premier Vladimir Meciar claims it ends in February 1998, the fifth anniversary of his election. MECIAR REJECTS DISCUSSING MINORITIES AT GABCIKOVO TALKS. In a letter his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula Horn, Meciar has rejected any discussion of other outstanding bilateral issues at talks on settling the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam dispute. Hungarian media reported on 28 October that Meciar said Slovakia is not setting any preconditions for the start of negotiations following the ruling of the International Court in The Hague and that Hungary should also refrain from so doing. The letter came in response to a message from Horn suggesting that the two countries also settle their disputes over the status of minorities and over the reconstruction of a bridge destroyed during World War II. HUNGARIAN UNEMPLOYMENT REACHES RECORD LOW. According to the Central Statistics Office, unemployment dropped to 8.1 percent in the third quarter of 1997, its lowest level since 1989, Hungarian media reported on 28 October. With 346,000 people registered as unemployed, the figure is 0.5 percent down on the previous quarter and 1.2 percent down on the same period of 1996. SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO DECIDE FOR BALKING BOSNIAN LEADERS? Carlos Westendorp, the international community's chief representative in Bosnia, said in Sarajevo on 28 October that major world powers are growing impatient because the Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim members of the joint presidency have not agreed on basic issues such as joint citizenship, a common currency, and state symbols. Hans van den Broek, the EU's commissioner for external affairs, added that the international community may "impose certain measures on the basis of [the] Dayton" agreements if the deadlock continues. Observers noted the Serbs have been the main obstacle to reaching a decision. The governing Bosnian Serb party does not believe in a unified Bosnia and would prefer to partition the country. MAJOR U.S. ARMS SHIPMENT ARRIVES IN BOSNIA. A U.S. ship delivered some 100 155mm howitzers to Bosnian army authorities at Croatia's port of Ploce on 28 October. Washington sent the artillery pieces in addition to the $100 million-worth of military aid it has promised to the mainly Muslim and Croatian army under the "Train and Equip" program. Critics in western Europe and Russia say that the program upsets the military balance in Bosnia. Washington, for its part, argues there is no balance because the Bosnian Serbs' military structures are still closely integrated with Yugoslavia's. BOMB HITS BOSNIAN SERB POLITICAL OFFICE. A bomb damaged the headquarters of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party in Bijeljina on 28 October. There were no injuries. The Belgrade-based Radicals are led by Vojislav Seselj, who led paramilitary units during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. One week earlier, an explosion in Bijeljina blew up a television transmitter used by hard-liners ("RFE/RL Newsline," 21 October 1997). Meanwhile near Muslim-held Travnik, a sniper killed one ethnic Croat and wounded two more on 27 October. Two Croats were killed by unknown assailants there in August. MUSLIMS ACCUSE MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT OF HATE-MONGERING. The Muslim National Council of Sandzak, which represents Yugoslavia's Muslim population, has accused Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic of spreading "outright hatred and hostility" against Yugoslavia's ethnic Muslims, BETA reported on 28 October. The Council charged that Bulatovic and his backers have repeatedly used inflammatory language at mass meetings to blame Muslims for Bulatovic's loss of the Montenegrin elections on 5 October. The resolution added that state-run Serbian media have helped Bulatovic to spread ethnic hatred. SKINHEADS INJURE TWO ROMA IN BELGRADE. A group of skinheads severely beat a Romani brother and sister in the Serbian capital on 27 October. Political opposition groups and non-governmental organizations condemned the attack and blamed the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for creating what they called a growing atmosphere of intolerance. The attack came ten days after Belgrade skinheads killed a Romani teenager, which observers called the first murder of a Rom by Serbian skinheads in a hate-crime (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 October 1997). Romani spokesmen say skinheads have harassed Roma in Yugoslavia for years. CROATIAN RIGHTS GROUP ACCUSES TUDJMAN OF RACISM. Spokesmen for the Croatian Helsinki Committee said in Zagreb on 28 October that President Franjo Tudjman made blatantly racist remarks at a meeting of the youth organization of his Croatian Democratic Community two days earlier. The committee charged that Tudjman violated the Croatian Constitution and international agreements when he allegedly referred to the "genetically programmed internal and external enemies of the Croatian state." MAHATHIR WANTS TO JOIN SLOVENIA ON BOSNIAN MARKET. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Drnovsek, in Ljubljana on 28 October that his country is interested in closer cooperation with Slovenia, particularly with its metal industry. He added that Malaysia regards Slovenia's port of Koper as very important for doing business in central Europe. Mahathir also suggested that Slovenia and Malaysia cooperate on the Bosnian market. Kuala Lumpur enjoys close relations with Sarajevo and provided military, economic, and diplomatic support to the Muslims during the Bosnian war. ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS END HUNGER STRIKE AFTER COMPROMISE OVER TV. Four Democratic Party legislators ended their hunger strike on 28 October after their party reached a compromise with the government coalition at a meeting of the all-party parliamentary media commission (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 22 October 1997). The parties agreed that state radio and television will devote air time to the activities of opposition parties proportional to the percentage of votes each of those parties won in the last elections. The commission also agreed to establish an independent television monitoring body in cooperation with local NGOs, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Tirana. DEMOCRATIC PARTY KEEP VETERAN LEADERS. The Democratic Party's National Council has elected a 20-member steering committee, "Rilindja Demokratike" reported on 28 October. Party chairman Sali Berisha will have Genc Pollo, his former presidential press spokesman, as his deputy. Ridvan Bode, another party leader who was prominent in Berisha's government, is secretary-general. Berisha said he wants to begin a dialogue with other conservative parties, stressing that "anti-communism unites us." Observers noted, however, that most other conservative parties are unlikely to accept overtures from the Democratic Party as long as Berisha is its leader. OWNER OF ALBANIAN PYRAMID GETS FIVE YEARS. A Tirana court on 27 October sentenced Maksude Kadena, owner of the Sude pyramid investment scheme, to five years in prison. Kadena was arrested and charged with fraud in January, one month after her pyramid scheme collapsed. Investigators said some 20,000 people invested a total of $60 million in the scheme. Kadena will have to serve only a total of three years and four months because she turned herself in under an amnesty program. ROMANIAN 'REVOLUTIONARY' SETS HIMSELF ABLAZE. One of the "revolutionaries" on hunger strike in Bucharest set himself ablaze on 29 October, Mediafax reported. He was taken to the hospital but refused medical care and left the premises shortly after. The "revolutionaries" belonging to the group headed by Dan Iosif are threatening to follow his example, with one striker setting himself on fire each day. On 28 October, the "revolutionaries" belonging to the UNORD association ended their hunger strike following the signing of a protocol with representatives of the ruling coalition. The protocol provides for setting up commissions composed of coalition and UNORD representatives to review the government-proposed amendments to the law on benefits for the "revolutionaries." YUGOSLAV DEFENSE MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Pavle Bulatovic and his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc, met in Bucharest on 27 October and signed a military cooperation agreement, RFE/RL's bureau in the Romanian capital reported. Bulatovic emphasized that the accord is not directed against any other state. He also met with Foreign Minister Adrian Severin and the chairmen of the parliamentary Defense, Public Order, and National Security Commissions. FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN ROMANIA. The Agency for Development on 27 October announced that foreign investment in the country since 1990 totals $3.4 billion. An RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest quoted economic analysts as saying this amount is far lower than in other former communist countries. Also on 27 October, visiting USAID director Brian Atwood said the U.S. will increase assistance for Romanian economic reforms above the $35 million granted in 1997. He also said USAID intends to set up in Romania an information center on accelerating privatization. RUSSIAN STATE DUMA SPEAKER IN MOLDOVA. Gennadii Seleznev, who is on a three-day visit to Moldova, said after talks with President Petru Lucinschi on 28 October that Russian parliamentary factions will finish examining the basic treaty with Moldova in mid- November. He said he that he believes the treaty, initialed in 1990, will be ratified by the end of 1997. Chairman of the Transdniester Supreme Soviet Grigorii Marakutsa told journalists after his meeting with Seleznev in Tiraspol that the separatists are opposed to the ratification of a document worked out seven years earlier, before the split between Tiraspol and Chisinau. He also said Tiraspol wants to participate in the drafting of a new treaty together with Russia "and Moldova," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. BULGARIA WANTS TO KEEP KOZLODUY OPERATING. The government has appealed to international lenders to agree to the continuation of operations at the aging Kozloduy nuclear power plant, citing economic hardships, RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reported on 27 October. In 1993, Bulgaria agreed to close four of the six units at the plant by the end of 1997 in exchange for a $26 million loan. BULGARIA ADMITS ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING. An Interior Ministry official on 28 October said more than 1,600 Bulgarian citizens have been involved in drug smuggling and 112 Bulgarian firms used as "covers" for international drug trafficking, Reuters reported. Bozhidar Popov told journalists that international criminal groups are involved in those operations. He also said growing drug consumption in Bulgaria is contributing to crime, including murders. END NOTE WHEN STATES LOSE CONTROL by Paul Goble Diplomats have never found it easy to resolve conflicts. But in recent years, they have faced an ever more daunting obstacle to making peace: the increasing ability of individuals and groups to sabotage whatever accords their governments may agree to. Nowhere has this problem been greater than in post- communist conflict zones such as the southern Caucasus and the former Yugoslavia. In both regions, the power and authority of political leaders are relatively weak, many individuals and groups in the population are well armed, and many of those groups enjoy the direct or covert support of other governments that benefit from conflict situations. Such factors reduce the effectiveness of traditional diplomacy except when it is backed by force. But even when they have not prevented diplomatic negotiations, they have defined how governments choose to participate in talks. Indeed, those factors are probably more important in determining what diplomacy can achieve and what it cannot than is the "extreme nationalism" that outsiders usually invoke to explain why no agreements seem to be possible. But because representatives of major outside powers sometimes do not take those factors into account when they attempt to intervene diplomatically, they often unintentionally lead the governments directly involved to behave in ways that preclude rather than produce peace. Efforts by the international diplomatic community to resolve the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh are perhaps the clearest example of that predicament. Neither Baku nor Yerevan is fully in control of its own population, much of which is deeply committed to prolonging the conflict until their particular goals are achieved. Groups in both countries have been willing to undermine efforts to reach agreements in the past, sometimes by passive resistance and sometimes by the use of violence, including attacks on individuals and on economic infrastructure such as pipelines and power networks. Nor does Yerevan have much leverage over the Karabakh Armenian leadership, which has enormous resources, including the possibility of violence, to undermine any agreement. As a result, some members of the Armenian leadership have been reluctant to agree to anything that might either cost them popular support or ignite violence against themselves. Some Azerbaijanis, for their part, have been willing to support authoritarian measures by their own government in order to create a situation whereby an agreement might be possible, one that would allow oil to flow and to enrich their country. The fundamental disagreement between the three conflict parties on the relative merits of a "phased" as opposed to a "package" solution to the conflict further complicates the international diplomatic effort to achieve a lasting peace in the region. Meanwhile, the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina suggests that, even in an age when non-governmental groups are playing an increasingly large role, the diplomacy of states can achieve a great deal if it is backed by another major resource of today's nation state: the use of force. NATO-led troops on the ground in Bosnia-Herzegovina have ended most of the violence and given both diplomats and governments there the possibility of dealing with the situation in a non-violent way. This application of force is, of course, by no means certain to solve the situation in the former Yugoslavia. But it has restricted the activities of independent individuals and groups and thus given the states a chance to act in a more traditional way. The contrast between the cases of the southern Caucasus and the former Yugoslavia has highlighted the importance of building strong political institutions. Unless they exist or have the chance to grow with some protection from outside, individuals and groups living inside those states may make it impossible for anyone to make peace and move on to a better future. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SUBSCRIBING: 1) To subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org 2) In the text of your message, type subscribe RFERL-L YourFirstName YourLastName UNSUBSCRIBING: 1) To un-subscribe to RFERL-L, please send a message to email@example.com 2) In the text of your message, type unsubscribe RFERL-L Current and Back Issues Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/ Listen to news for 13 countries RFE/RL programs for countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and the South Slavic region are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour LIVE Broadcast Studio. http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html Reprint Policy To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble, Publisher Email: GobleP@rferl.org Phone: 202-457-6947 Fax: 202-457-6992 Postal Address: RFE/RL, 1201 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20036 USA RFE/RL Newsline Staff: * Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org * Liz Fuller, Acting Editor (Transcaucasia) CarlsonE@rferl.org * Patrick Moore, Acting Deputy Editor (West Balkans) MooreP@rferl.org * Michael Shafir (East Balkans) ShafirM@rferl.org * Laura Belin (Russia) BelinL@rferl.org * Bruce Pannier (Central Asia) PannierB@rferl.org * Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org * Mike Gallant, GallantM@rferl.org RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630
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